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N. Korea's 2016 food shortage may reach worst level since 2011: report

All News 11:30 June 11, 2016

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea seems to be 694,000 tons short of food this year, the worst food shortage since 2011, Washington-based Voice of America (VOA) said Saturday, citing a United Nations body.

In the grain year of 2015-2016, North Korea will import some 300,000 tons of food, but may still face a shortage of 394,000 tons, the VOA said, quoting an estimate from the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization.

The report said North Korea's rice harvest dropped 26 percent to 1.95 million tons last year from a year earlier, while its corn harvest recorded an on-year drop to 2.3 million tons last year.

"North Korea's total grain harvest declined 9 percent last year from a year earlier," the VOA said.

Still, North Korea saw its harvest of other cereals like beans, sorghum and buckwheat increase by about 35 percent last year, according to the report.

"Production of beans, the main source of protein for the North Korean people, grew 37 percent on-year to 220,000 tons," the FAO was quoted as saying in its report.

Kwon Tae-jin, a researcher at GS&J Institute, said North Korea "may have given up rice production, which requires a large quantity of water, and instead planted other crops amid a water shortage," according to the report.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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